Nearly five years in prison for former CDL school owner guilty of bribery

April 16, 2024

Land Line Staff


The former owner of a Philadelphia-based CDL school has been sentenced to 57 months in prison for his part in a bribery scheme that led to his students passing their CDL skills test.

On Monday, April 15, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the sentence of 53-year-old Vladimir Tsymbalenko, the former owner of Vlad’s CDL School. In addition to the prison time, Tsymbalenko also was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

“The last thing anyone should want on our roads are people behind the wheel of big rigs or school buses with bogus CDL certifications,” U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero said in a statement. “Licensure standards are intended to ensure that someone has the training and skills needed to safely move these huge vehicles and their cargo — human or otherwise — from Point A to Point B.”

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, in October, Tsymbalenko pleaded guilty to one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of witness tampering. Officials said the former owner bribed a CDL examiner to pass students “who did not actually pass, or never even took, the CDL examination.”

The original indictment against Tsymbalenko alleged that between 2015 and September 2018, the CDL school owner paid cash bribes totaling more than $10,000 to a former third-party CDL examiner.

Romero added that Tsymbalenko’s “nearly five-year prison sentence” is a way of showing her office “will work to hold accountable anyone seeking to evade such critical government regulations.”

That sentiment is shared by Wayne A. Jacobs, special agent in charge of FBI Philadelphia, who said crimes like Tsymbalenko’s cannot go unchecked.

“Corruption and fraud, at any level, is not tolerated, especially for licensing standards designed to keep our community safe,” Jacobs said “The FBI will continue to work alongside our federal, state and local partners to pursue those who orchestrate these fraudulent schemes, which undermine the integrity of these licenses.”

With court documents currently sealed, additional details of the case are unknown at this time. LL